This weekend, Austin, TX will once again show why it has been dubbed “The Live Music Capital of the World” as the 8th annual Fun Fun Fun Fest takes over downtown for three days and four nights of music, comedy, poster art, and action sports.
One would think that just a few short weeks after Austin City Limits, another music festival might seem like overkill, but FFF Fest prides itself on catering to a more progressive clientele. With a focus on acts well outside of the mainstream, FFF Fest seems custom-built for those who like to sample a slew of underground indie, rock, metal, hip-hop and punk bands they’ve never heard of in a quest to discover their new favorite artist.
For the last few years, the festival has taken place at Auditorium Shores, which sits right off of Lady Bird Lake, and boasts a glorious view of downtown. Another huge bonus: when the grounds close for the night at 10pm, your weekend pass gets you into all of the late night showcases scattered throughout the city at various bars and clubs. All told, as there are over 14 non-stop hours of programming slotted per day, this is clearly not a festival geared towards the faint of heart.
This will be my first time at FFF Fest and I have never seen a lineup more diverse, or one where there were so many bands I wasn’t familiar with. Sure, you’ve got your headliners like M.I.A., Snoop Dogg, MGMT, Descendents, and Jurassic 5, but as soon as you scan down the (extremely) long lineup, there are tons of names you’d likely have to be in the talent booking business to recognize. Some people might complain about this, but I for one could not be more excited to have a bunch of new and unfamiliar sounds caress my eardrums.
But on the off chance your eardrums ever need a break, there is a comfort in knowing there is a comedy stage where you can give your belly a workout instead. This year’s lineup has a who’s who of comics, ranging from Sarah Silverman and Patton Oswalt to Craig Robinson and Tenacious D. I’m also looking forward to the “Air Sex Championships” which I can only assume will be a lot more entertaining than Air Guitar. And if that weren’t enough, FFF Fest is also one of the few festivals out there which boasts a “stage” dedicated to action sports, where one can view pro skaters and BMXers as well as a few musical acts for good measure. I mean, where else will you ever get the chance to watch Killer Mike spit rhymes from a half pipe and then catch a headlining set from metal-gods Slayer? Keep Austin weird, indeed.
And now for the most diverse lineup of my can’t-miss acts I’ll likely ever compile:
Friday features a stacked lineup including Big Freedia, the Bounce Queen diva from New Orleans, fresh off her victory of setting the world record for most people twerking at one time, 2013 “album of the year” contender Kurt Vile doing one last victory lap, as well as Poolside, Johnny Marr of The Smiths, Mac Demarco, and Cut Copy, who will be showcasing material from their brand new album Free Your Mind which dropped this week.
Meanwhile, on Saturday seminal punk-band Television will be playing one of only three US shows this year, and their first since 2007. I never thought I would have the chance to see “Marquee Moon” performed live, but here we are, and if that weren’t enough of a mind-f***, they will be followed by the always unpredictable M.I.A. and Deerhunter on the very same stage back-to-back-to-back. After the sun goes down, Twin Shadow will be doing a late night bill with Simian Mobile Disco, while venues on the other side of town will play host to the likes of Tenacious D, Del The Funky Homosapien, and Lee Fields & The Expressions, which will make for some tough choices.